Tom Dumoulin – the humble, sporting, deserving Giro d’Italia 2017 champion

Dutchman proves his class on and off the bike in winning the 100th Corsa Rosa

Tom Dumoulin marked himself as a future Grand Tour contender back at the Vuelta a Espana in 2015, and his 2017 Giro d’Italia victory proved his class – there will not be too many more popular Grand Tour winners.

On the road, Dumoulin played to his strengths perfectly – his ability against the clock was always going to allow him to put some serious time into his rivals in the two time trials.

– Tom Dumoulin wins the 2017 Giro d’Italia –

It was in the mountains where he impressed most though. Having won the queen stage of last year’s Tour de France in Andorra, we knew what he would be capable of, but he resisted the attacks of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) et al at almost every turn, and won a stage for himself on Oropa.

And off the bike, Dumoulin has also proved himself a worthy champion – his humbleness, having won the 100th Giro d’Italia reflected the public persona he has always given off since his Vuelta near-miss in 2015.

Tom Dumoulin was a worthy and very popular 2017 Giro d’Italia champion (pic: Sirotti)


When Nairo Quintana crashed on the descent of the Miragolo San Salvatore, on stage 15, it would have been easy for Dumoulin to press home his advantage – Quintana’s crash was a result of his own error of judgement, after all.

But the Dutchman marked himself as a sporting champion, even at that early stage, when he slowed the bunch down to allow Quintana to chase back on.

“I don’t want to take time on competitors when they crash or have a flat tyre or whatever,” he said after the stage.

Compare and contrast that to what happened after his ill-timed comfort break on stage 16, the queen stage – as Dumoulin chased back on, Nibali was attacking and Quintana had no choice but to disappear up the road with the Italian.

Even then, the Dutchman remained unruffled, telling post-race reporters and then Tweeting too that his anger was reserved for his misfortune and not for his rivals’ actions.

Dumoulin resisted Quintana and Nibali’s attacks at almost every turn (pic: Sirotti)

“It was not the moment or the time in the race anymore to come to a complete shut down because nature called me,” he said.

After that day, there were few fans who did not want Dumoulin to win, even more so as he repeatedly dug deep to stay within touching distance of his rivals in the mountains.

Tom Dumoulin, pink jersey, Giro d'Italia, 2017, Oropa, cobbles, pic - Sirotti
Tom Dumoulin, pink jersey, Giro d'Italia, 2017, Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, pic - Sirotti

Of course, the romantics would have pegged Nibali for the win – the Italian hero, at the milestone Giro d’Italia, just weeks after the death of his former team-mate, and fellow former champion, Michele Scarponi.

But Dumoulin’s victory was itself a brilliant tale of sportsmanship, sporting ability, and a gritty determination which ultimately brought him the biggest prize of his career.

Given how often he found himself isolated in the front group on the road – despite the best efforts of Laurens ten Dam and Simon Geschke – that Dumoulin took time to thank his team-mates and celebrate with them on the podium was another measure of the man.

The 26-year-old fully deserved his first Grand Tour title, and with seven stage wins from the last four Grand Tours he has ridden you get the impression there is far more to come.

Dumoulin celebrates victory with his Team Sunweb team-mates (pic – Sirotti)

The 100th Giro d’Italia proved every bit the spectacle organisers had hoped for when they unveiled an intriguingly balanced route, with some of the race’s most spectacular mountains and no shortage of climbing in the final week.

The racing was enthralling to the end, with 53 seconds separating the top four after the final mountain stage telling you all you need to know.

And as winners go, there were none more worthy – and will be none more popular – than Tom Dumoulin.

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